26 Jun 2003
Well, it's been an interesting 4 years, but the downturn in the tech. market has crushed my finances, and it's time to return to the realtm world and look for a realtm job. But, at least I won't be alone, right? Wrong...

When Siri and I finally sort our her Visa, I plan on writing on the entire experience here, but for now let me just sketch our latest stumbling block. It appears, that when you choose to live in another country, you loose your right to sponsor someone to live in America. The entire system is apparently geared towards sex tourists and mail order brides. No wait, that's just my bitterness coming through. The real issue is that to sponsor someone you have to be "domiciled" in America.

Unfortunately domicile doesn't seem to have a real legal context in the visa process. Basically I have to convince the consular officials that I really live in America, and this isn't all just a scam to end run around the hopelessly difficult to obtain tourist visa.

So, I'm off to the states, to establish my domicile, and when I eventually accumulate enough paperwork Siri will be granted her visa, and allowed to follow me. Excellent system.

My new address/domicile is:

 
 
 
Evan Bigall
Wading River, NY 11792
USA


11 Jul 2003

Domicile Timeline

Pre-arrival
Semi-luckily, my US driverís license expired in May and I'd been having my parents run around in circles gathering all the paperwork necessary to patch that up. Also, as soon as we heard about the domicile stuff I immediately began changing all my addresses to point at my parent's address, had checks issued in my and Siri's name, etc...
Fri 27 Jun 2003
After 26 hours of travel, I arrived in New York safely, but thoroughly unimpressed with all the new flight security measures.
Mon 30 Jun 2003
A lot of futile running around. I tried to get a NY driver's but after 9/11 that seems to require and actual physical social security card (yes, that cardboard scrap you haven't seen since you were 14!). The replacement social security card will take a few weeks.
Mon Night
I faxed off to the Embassy everything I had
  1. My plane tickets and boarding pass stubs from my flight.
  2. A letter from my mother welcoming us to reside at my family home.
  3. A voided bank check in Siri and my name at the above address.
  4. A letter from the Social Security Administration to the above address.
  5. A receipt for a "to be" issued replacement SS card at the above address.
  6. A signature card, from my bank awaiting Siri's signature to add her to my account.
  7. A DHL receipt to the above address from PADI, my professional association.
  8. A payment coupon from my American Express card to the above address.
  9. A letter from my insurance company written to the above address.
  10. A bill from my internet provider to the above address.
Wed 02 Jul 2003 (Thai time)
Siri went to the Embassy to see what they thought. We were both very, very nervous about this, as we didn't have a commitment from the embassy that she wouldn't have to re-interview from scratch, etc...

So anyway, she shows up at the window, gives them her name, and was told, "yes, we received the fax, we've reviewed it, and your visa is approved!" Not a single additional question (leaving the grand total of questions she did answer at about 5 trivial ones), just, "Sign this and come back tomorrow to pick up your visa."

Thr 03 Jul 2003
Another trip for Siri to Bangkok to buy the plane tickets.
Fri 11 Jul 2003
Happily reunited in New York. Welcome to America!
13 Oct 2003
Reentry +3 months.

We've been in the states for three months now, and everything is going fine. Siri is busy with English lessons, and I've been spending lots of quality time with my laptop trying to come up to speed on all the exciting new acronyms in the world of technology.

We've been keeping a low profile, living with my family in New York, but the time has finally come to reenter the realtm world. If you'd like to help, check out my resume and feel free to offer me a job.

07 Nov 2003
I've found a job, and Siri and I are relocating to CA.

12 Feb 2005
Wow, over a year since I've updated this page, I guess in itself that says a lot. People keep asking me if I'm happy to be back at work again. I laugh at these people.

Hmm. Lets see, living on a beach in Thailand -vs- 14 hours a day in cubicle. Tough call.

If I have to be working though, I've gotten really lucky. Friends kept telling me how tight the job market is here, and I was expecting that explaining the 5 1/2 year hole on my resume might be a bit tricky. Somehow, "sabbatical" doesn't quite seem to sum it up.

So, how did it go?

13 Oct 2003

A Pure Software reunion gave me a chance to do some networking, and hopefully a bit of interviewing. so I scheduled a one week trip.

It was surreal to see the Bay Area again. In some ways a much bigger culture shock then coming back to the States. So many things that have changed, and so many that have stayed the same. Visiting my old haunts, a character in a rapidly receding dream as morning moves to afternoon.

The reunion was fun. To see how people have changed, where they have landed, and what they have done with those 5 years. To contrast their 3.5 kids to my prodigal memories.

The day after the reunion though, left me staring at a silent cell phone with only two appointments booked for the week and lots of time for sightseeing.

At Pure->Pure Atria->Rational->IBM, I interviewed for what was essentially my old job and failed to get it, nincompoops!

A lot of time for contemplation on times well spent and mis-spent, values, family, and responsibility. Funny how in Thailand, broke and living on the beach seemed quite acceptable whereas here I feel a bit marginal.

I carried these thoughts with me to the airport for the long flight back to my family when I got the call. The VP of Engineering from Scalent Systems was on the way to the airport to hand deliver an offer letter.

Sabbatical over.

The relocation was intense. Two weeks to make and execute the plan: fly from New York to Colorado. Rent a truck, empty the contents of my old storage locker into it (mostly books), and drive to California. Introduce Siri to the Bay Area, find a place to live, buy a car, buy some furniture, get my act together and show up for work on Monday.

The life of a repo man is always intense.

We've been in the Bay Area more than a year now, and it still surprises me how straightforward the transition has been. From homeless, jobless, and thinking big thoughts about the future to an apartment filled with junk, overworked, and wondering what's for dinner tonight in two fun filled weeks or less.

As jobs go, Scalent is a good place to show up for work. A 20-person startup, a bunch of experienced people who have done it all before, trying to do it all again. But, it is a job.

Siri and I are quite happy together. In Thailand when we were talking about coming to America I had a long list of things I was worried about, food, cultural differences, weather, etc... None of them have been problems. We've stepped out of one life and into another. I spend my days chained to the keyboard, she spends hers studying English, then we hold each other at night and wonder how it all ended up this way.

22 Mar 2005
This is Eric Jait Bigall, born 6:44pm to Siri and Evan.

At birth he was 6lbs 10oz, and 19 1/2 inches. Everybody is at home now and doing splendidly.

20 May 2006
I'm a member of the core engineering team at Scalent, but at a startup everyone needs to do whatever they can and I don't mind some of the customer facing stuff. Because of that, I've been doing a lot of field engineering gigs in New York City. Things are heating up with a lot of the big financial companies, so the company has decided to send us to Manhattan for for 3 months. We'll be living on the corner of 7th Avenue and 51st Street, just a few blocks from times square. It doesn't get any more real than that.

Father's Day in NYC

1 Sep 2006
The Company has decided to extend my stay here for at least another year. The furnished one bedroom just isn't working, so we are going to switch to an unfurnished two bedroom.

The new apartment is here. Yes, thats us two blocks from ground zero.

The goal for the move was to do it as quickly and cheaply as possible. We chose the misnamed Help U Move. (They should really be called something like "Watch you move".

They dropped off a 28ft truck trailer into which we packed all our stuff going to NY. Turns out we have 8 linear feet of belongings. With a 1-year-old and and 2 cats packing is a lot like trying to stave off stavation through self-cannibalism, a constant struggle, giving up ever more essential articles.

With the truck packed, the house empty, and us completely exhausted, I thought we were done. Little did I know it was just starting to get interesting.

I have proper airline kennels for the cats, and they've done the cross country flight in the cargo hold twice already, but Asia is getting old for all that so I thought I would try something different this time. Jet Blue sold us these small boxes that go under the seats so the cats could be in the cabin with us. Unfortunately the boxes are pretty small and the cats were pretty unhappy.

Security was quite the event. First I go through the scanner. Then, I go back and get Jait, carry him through the scanner, and hand him off to mom. Then, I go back, take a cat out of the box, put the box through the x-ray, carry the cat through the scannerm, put the (well pissed off) cat back in the box. Repeat for the other cat. The cats were not impressed wth the plan.

Of course, all this was for naught because one of the Jet Blue air crew didn't show up and the flight was canceled. Well this sort of sucks. A few hours ago we had a house, fractured and boxed though it might have been, it was better than the terminal floor, and I can't really think of anyone on my friend list that is going to cope well with us showing up at midnight with boxes full of cats. Luckily? Jet Blue found a hotel that would take us, cats and all, so all we had to do was repeat this nonsense the next day.



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